Earnshaw makes it six in a row
DAVID CUFFLEY Robert Earnshaw warmed up for international duty by maintaining a remarkable scoring sequence in front of Norwich City's home crowd. His winning goal in Saturday's thrilling 3-2 Coca-Cola Championship success over Luton Town made it the sixth Carrow Road game in a row in which he has got on the scoresheet.
Robert Earnshaw warmed up for international duty by maintaining a remarkable scoring sequence in front of Norwich City's home crowd.
His winning goal in Saturday's thrilling 3-2 Coca-Cola Championship success over Luton Town made it the sixth Carrow Road game in a row in which he has got on the scoresheet.
Striker Earnshaw - in the Wales squad with team-mate Carl Robinson for tomorrow's friendly against Bulgaria at Swansea - scored in each of the last four home matches of last season, including two goals when the Canaries fought back from 2-0 down to beat Queen's Park Rangers 3-2 on Easter Monday.
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But their stirring fightback against the Hatters from a similar position was greeted with much greater euphoria and could have much greater significance if Nigel Worthington's men maintain their early-season form.
“What a comeback. It was brilliant,” said Earnshaw. “The boys just carried on how we've been playing. Our passing was only 80 per cent of what it was on Tuesday and last Saturday, so to do that and still come out with the win was brilliant.”
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Earnshaw, who scored the second goal in last Tuesday's win over Preston, admitted he thought he was going to be substituted just before he struck his 69th-minute winner against the Hatters.
He said: “I think I was going to come off. But the great thing, to be fair to the manager, is he hardly ever brings me off. The more I'm getting goals, the longer I'm on the pitch. The amount of goals I've got just by being on the pitch, playing well or not . . . some of the chances just fall to me.”
Earnshaw, now with 10 goals in 18 senior games for City, admitted the mood was “ecstatic” in the dressing room after the match.
He said: “In the first half, we had sort of half-chances and nothing really was dropping. I had one where the guy hit it on to my shin and it went up in the air and it went wide. Normally, when you're that close it'll hit your shin and it'll go straight in.
“We did well to create the chances in the second half to come back. As soon as we got our first goal, we just believed the win was going to come. From then it was downhill because we knew in our heads we were going to come back and win the game.”
Worthington admitted that a half-time lecture had been needed to spark his players into action.
“In the first half we were out of the traps slow,” said Worthington. “I know some of the players believed what they were seeing in the Press and listened to what people around the city were saying about the performance Tuesday night, and they weren't at the races in the first half.
“So we got them in, had one or two frank words at half-time and put it right. We did what we did very well on Tuesday night - moved the ball quickly, the passing became crisper and we created the chances.
“I mentioned at half-time that we were looking for character, steel, resilience, and the players showed it abundance in the second half. And the game today, from last year's point of view, we would have lost,” he said. “But it was a never-say-die attitude - we were disappointed to be one goal down, but to go two goals down was a little bit of shock. When we got the first goal we were back in the game and when we got to 2-2 there was only going to be one winner.
“Last year we would have lost it, probably through injured players, soft minds, everything else. Today we have kept going.”
Luton boss Mike Newell lamented the loss of three injured men in the second half - defender Markus Heikkinen and wide players Carlos Edwards and Lewis Emanuel - while skipper Steve Robinson was also struggling by the end.
He said: “To have to make three changes, virtually at half-time, it's a big blow. Markus has a bad ankle injury, Lewis was touch and go at half-time and Carlos got a boot in the face. He's OK now but didn't know where he was. You take three players off out of your starting line-up and you're going to miss them, but we invited the pressure on ourselves because of individual errors.
“It was the only way that I felt Norwich were going to get back into it, if we made a mistake. They were not really hurting us. If you go 2-0 down at home, you've got to get back into it as quickly as possible and the goal gave them that chance and the bit of hope that they needed.
“At 2-0 you're never certain, especially with 35 minutes to go, but certainly we would have hoped to get something out of the game at that stage.”